Influence of Case Law on Policing

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Influence of Case Law on Policing

Of the numerous things that can change policies and procedures within a police department, or multiple police departments, case law is probably the most common. Case law extends from rulings of the courts on certain topics that may not have a written policy or that may cause existing policy to be reviewed and rewritten. Perhaps the landmark case that has had the most substantial influence on modern policing is Terry v. Ohio. In the case, Detective McFadden of the Cleveland Ohio Police Department, observed three men acting suspiciously around a business in the down town area. Suspecting that the men might be preparing to rob the store, McFadden approached the men. He then performed a protective pat down of their outer garments and located a hand gun on two of the men, including one named Terry. After the court upheld that for officer safety, the weapon frisk is acceptable, this case paved the way for future officers to be constitutionally supported when dealing with potential suspects who may be armed. Another landmark case that has given police viable search options is the case of Schneckloth v. Bustamonte (1973). If not for this case and others like it, police officer searches would be limited to a warrant, probable cause, or exigent circumstances. By including the consent search into legitimate operational procedures, law enforcement officers have an additional option and do not have to wait for a warrant or for something bad to happen. An occupant of a residence or vehicle who is of a reasonable age can give consent for police to conduct a reasonable search. One problem that continues to bear its ugly head occasionally though, is that consent can be revoked by the person who granted it. The most common case law that has impacted law enforcement officers must be Miranda v. Arizona. Humans are curious creatures by nature and police officers are some of the most curious of all. The tendency of an officer...
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